Pramila Jayapal, an civil rights rights advocate who founded the and spent many years leading immigration reform group OneAmerica, was an omnipresent supporter during now-Mayor Ed Murray's campaign, and is currently the leader of Murray's police-chief search committee and a member of Murray's minimum-wage task force, is running for the state senate seat being vacated by longtime Sen. Adam Kline (D-37, SE Seattle) who's retiring this year after four terms in the senate.
“Families and working people across this district are struggling," Jayapal said in a statement. "I want to bring their voices and priorities to the State Senate and build a district and a movement that includes every single family in this district working together for real solutions that create a beloved community"—a reference to Dr. Martin Luther King's philosophy of nonviolence
Several contenders have announced their candidacy to replace Kline, including attorney Rory O'Sullivan, who runs the Housing Justice Project; anti-charter schools and 37th District Democrats vice-chairman Louis Watanabe; and PTSA activist Linnea Noreen Fichter, who ran in 2006 against Congressman Jim McDermott and has not reported raising any money yet.
Jayapal included a long list of early endorsers in her announcement today, including Murray (duh), city council members Sally Clark, Mike O’Brien, Tim Burgess and Tom Rasmussen (Bruce Harrell, who, like Clark, lives in the 37th, has donated to Watanabe), El Centro de la Raza director Estela Ortega, the grocery workers' union, UFCW 21, and Real Change director Tim Harris.
If elected, Jayapal would be the second woman of color representing Southeast Seattle; Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos has served the district since 1998. The other representative is Eric Pettigrew, who's African-American; he was first elected back in 2002.